It may have slipped your awareness, but with the release of the last episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi the three Star Wars Disney+ series have surpassed the movies in terms of total runtime. There is just one problem. This moment of celebration is being overshadowed by something that moves quickly; that is easily introduced and seductive.
Though her character was mentioned as early as Episode 1, it wasn’t until Episode 2 that the Inquisitor known as Reva Sevander or Third Sister would appear. While all the Inquisitors are shown to take pride in their work, the show indicates that the hunt for Obi-Wan Kenobi is somewhat personal for the Third Sister. It is this grudge which sets her character up for a larger presence in the series; it is this larger presence is causing so-called fans of the franchise to target Moses Ingram, the actress playing Reva.
This isn’t the first time Star Wars, or more accurately its executives and filmmakers, have been questioned about a casting. When the first reports were released about Episode VII, The Force Awakens, one detail in particular caused an uproar among fans. In 2015, shortly after the trailer for the movie was released, some Twitter users started a hashtag to urge others to boycott the film. The reason for this proposed boycott was quite simple; fans were upset that John Boyega was cast in the film. Though the complete films details were kept to a minimum, what was known was that his character was a Stormtrooper; for those who started the movement the film and its makers of a form of “white genocide”.
Listen, I get it; equality, quota’s based on gender or sex, and representation have always been difficult subjects. On one hand they are personal, but they must be presented in a way other people can put it into perspective.
There is a huge problem with claiming the choice to cast an actor of color, whether black, brown or yellow, is equal to “white genocide”; there is a problem with attempting to imply this act is equal to the destruction of something which is central, identifiable and even sacred to the caucasian race. I will never agree with a role being given to an individual for representation sake; I feel that some licenses cannot be taken so the part should be played by the person who “fits the bill”. Whenever possible I think a character should be played by someone who matches up as closely in terms of race, sex and other physical attributes.
However, even if we forget for a moment that Finn, the character John Boyega plays in the most recent trilogy, is a Stormtrooper, a made up class of soldiers from a fantasy series, there is still a major problem with the white genocide claim. On what basis can the claim be made that all or even any Stormtroopers are white. Ask yourself, when have you ever seen a Stormtrooper without their helmet? No, that was Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. No, that happens in the movie Spaceballs.
What. Those guys, they were Clone Troopers. Made on Kamino. They all would look like Temuera Morrison. Unfortunately, since Order 66 wasn’t a total success a few Jedi survived, and any of those could have used Kamino and its cloning facility. But, what do you do when you are a growing Imperial force and you need workers? Oh, come now, you all know the answer to this question. Are you sure Finn doesn’t belong under one of those helmets?
There are two additional issues, somewhat interconnected, which present an opportunity to dispute the use of the phrase “white genocide” in the Star Wars Universe. The first is the diverse tapestry of life which is present throughout the franchise. There are planets upon planets shown – Dagobah, Hoth and Mustafar for example; each has various climates and enviroments. Throughout the Star Wars franchise, fans have seen a multitude of creatures that inhabit these planets (or moons, space stations, etc.). Which brings us to the second issue; we all live on the same planet. On Earth, anthropologically speaking, there are only 3 main human races, with various sub-races. So the term “white” means something to us because it relates to a particular race.
But as I just reminded you, in Star Wars there are many planets. Did all life start on a single planet and then head off into the expanse? If so then when Luke met Leia they could have felt they were from the same gene pool, even before realizing it was true. But if not, then Luke was some dirty Tattoinian and Leia a royal Alderaanian (though both are actually Tattoinian/Nabooian). On each of those planets live a multitude of creatures; some of which appear similar to those of us on Earth. But make no mistake, they are out of our world.
I could have simply left this as a one-sided race story. But if there is but one thing to learn from Star Wars, it is that there must be balance. There is another side to this story. One that makes the initial problem even more disturbing.
Neither John or Moses are the first or only black entertainers in the Star Wars Universe.
The first Disney+ Star Wars show, The Mandalorian, features lots of action. So of course Carl Weathers had to be involved.
Audiences were caught off guard when Rogue One told a story we only thought we knew. Among that film’s stars is none other than Forest Whitaker.
No one dared question the decision regarding the color of the lightsaber, nor that of the actor, Samuel L. Jackson, who would play Jedi Master Mace Windu.
Of course some may argue these casting came during a period when there was a facade of tolerance; a time of false sentiments of acceptance. But Star Wars has been around for over 40 years and in its earliest days racism was still blatantly present in the United States.
Entering the franchise at an iconic moment, Lando Calrissian fooled a lot of people in more than one way. First, Lando played all sides of this galactic game. Faced with a threat to his city and its citizens, Calrissian sides with the Empire, but only long enough to gain an advantage. In less than 30 minutes Lando goes from foe to friend; his final scene of The Empire Strikes Back emphasizes his acceptance into the Rebel Alliancce
But, the real trick of Lando Calrissian was not played out on screen; at least not specifically. When Billy Dee Williams was cast for the role it was for a specific purpose. There is a long held view that the color black is associated with being bad or evil. The character Darth Vader only strengthened this association. Williams’ casting was a means for George Lucas to break it. The creator of the franchise himself wished to make color irrelevant in this series. Why has it become such a focus?
So if race has been one of the least important factors in Star Wars, why do some fans have a problem with these two castings.
What if I told you there was one more similar situation? One that once looked at in light of these other two may begin to identify the real problem.
Debuting in 2017’s, Star Wars VIII, The Last Jedi introduced moviegoers to the character Rose Tico. Rose would be the first major woman of color in the franchise, but the actress who played her, Kelly Marie Tran, would eventually scrub her social media accounts to avoid harassment.
I don’t want to give the impression that these actors and actresses are the only ones who have ever been harassed for their efforts to add to the story of Star Wars.
After being played by Jake Lloyd the role of Anakin Skywalker went to Hayden Christensen for Episodes II and III. Christensen also recently reprised the role in the final episodes of the Disney+ Obi Wan Kenobi series. It also seems that fans are more receptive to Hayden’s performance now than they were when the prequels were released. However, back when the films hit theaters critics were complaining about Hayden’s acting, and not about the role.
And what a role. Because while Anakin is interesting, fans know him most for his future self. That of Lord Darth Vader. Which is actually a duo if you were not already aware. First there is the figure; the man in black. David Prowse was the initial wearer of the Sith suit; Daniel Naprous wears it in Rogue One while Christensen appears as both Anakin and Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi. As for the voice that is so recognizable. Well, that is none other than the deep baritone of Mr. James Earl Jones. If different people working together can bring Vader to life, what else can it accomplish?
And while Christensen’s time as Vader was not without its critics there is a difference between that he received and the others mentioned in this article. After its release in 1999, there was a backlash among fans who were not happy with Attack of the Clones. Of their complaints with the film was the dialogue of Anakin. They didn’t have a problem with who was cast for the role; their problem was not with Hayden Christensen, but with George Lucas’ script.
As Hayden stated in a recent interview, George Lucas’ take back was that those individuals “just don’t get it.” Clearly, some still don’t.
George Lucas Script
Let that sink in for a minute. Yeah, he has made a lot of money off of us with this space odyssey. But what did we get? One of the most recognizable franchises in the world. Adored by all ages, genders and identities. It’s hard to consider it a boy’s franchise any longer; not with Rey’s story serving as the major plot of the last trilogy. Of course, the moment Leia grabbed the blaster from Luke I knew it wasn’t just a boy’s franchise.
That is where this topic should end; at it’s beginning, it’s creator. Because ultimately George Lucas, and by extension LucasFilm and now Disney, chose and still choose what stories and what individuals we witness in the Star Wars UUniverse. Perhaps that is because when you focus onn just one person or people’s story, well you can miss the effects on the rest of the universe or galaxy. Again, Star Wars is about balance, offering to all equally. This is why it was not titled Their, Hers or Yours but instead A New Hope. Offered to all who would welcome it; much like salvation from sin. Then again, you tend to notice that same ownershiip stance their too.
The believe that something is being taken from you despite no actual loss or true claim of ownership.
That sounds like false information and thoughts that are invading annd interferring with reality.
That sounds like the definition of fear.
And fear is the path to the darkside.